AASU officers get new building, equipment

By Brooke Kelley - bio | email

It's that time of year where college students start heading back to school.

Over at Armstrong Atlantic State University, they're expecting more students than ever to move onto campus.

The student population isn't the only thing expanding. So is the AASU's police department with a tool that is the only one of its kind in the state.

It's been a busy summer for Armstrong Atlantic State University police officers Tony Johnson and Erica Coreno. They have new ATVs to patrol around campus a bigger building to house the entire department, and a new digital fire suppression training system.

"What it does is it shows the students how to put a fire out correctly," Johnson said. "A lot of them [have] never put their hands on a fire extinguisher, what we want to do is introduce them so when they get here if they encounter something like that, they know how to react to it."

That's not the only thing officers will be teaching students.

Coreno will be busy training female students on self defense.

"[We're teaching them] just to be aware of your surroundings and then we teach you techniques on how to defend yourself against an aggressor," Coreno said.

While the campus might be quite now starting Tuesday, students will be moving in and they'll have 1,400 students living on campus compared to the 860 that lived on campus last year.

AASU's Deputy Police Chief Wynn Sullivan said her officers have lots of new tools to help serve and protect.

"As they arrive, we will be welcoming the new freshmen to campus give them suggestions to make sure their vehicles are safe and locked," Sullivan said.

"It's a full-scale police department. We are open 24 hours a day 7 days a week," Sullivan said.

But they won't be just hanging out in the office. Sullivan said officers will be out on patrol keeping a watchful eye as students head back to the class.

AASU officers also formed a partnership with Savannah Chatham School District and will be teaching some of the students the new digital fire suppression training next month.

Copyright 2010 WTOC. All rights reserved.